After barely winning his U.S. Senate seat in a $33 million slugfest six years ago, Bob Corker coasted to one of the easiest re-elections of any U.S. senator on Tuesday.
Corker, a 60-year-old former Chattanooga mayor, won a second term by outpolling Democrat Mark Clayton by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Seven other candidates on the ballot trailed far behind.
"It's certainly a lot different tonight than it was six years ago, but I'm probably more energized and enthusiastic than I have ever been," Corker said Tuesday night during an election night victory party in Nashville.
"We've literally been preparing for the past 11 months for the day after the election to begin to work on putting together a plan to deal with our fiscal challenges and I'm eager to get to work."
Although Democrats maintained their majority control of the U.S. Senate in Tuesday's election, Corker will still move into more of a leadership role among Republicans in both the Banking and Foreign Relations committees.
Corker rolled to easy victory over Clayton, 36, who was the top vote-getter in the August Democratic primary from among seven little-known candidates. Clayton is vice president of Public Advocate of the United States, which opposes and lobbies against gay rights and was labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Clayton didn't have a campaign staff, office or even enough funds to have to file with the Federal Election Commission, and he was denounced by his own party.
The Washington Post said Clayton "may be America's worst candidate" and said he had the least chance of any major party nominee in the country of winning Tuesday's election.
In comparison, the Corker campaign collected nearly $10 million for his re-election campaign and still had nearly $6.3 million in cash on hand in the last campaign report filed in October.
Contact staff writer Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6340.